5 Secrets to Brand Success – How to Make Your Employees Brand Ambassadors

If you want to improve your brand image and visibility, the secret may be finding out how to make your employees brand ambassadors. Learn more in this guide.

If  you are looking for ways to enhance your branding and engage more customers, it might be time to look at how to make your employees brand ambassadors.

Of course, this might be tricky for some businesses, especially those who just treat their employees as simple human resources. But your workers can and should be your greatest champions—in fact, they could very well be your most ardent spokespeople on social media if you engage them in the right way (1).

“Next to you, your employees are the ones who understand your products and services the most,” says Qamar Zaman, founder of a Dallas Digital Marketing Company Kiss PR and Submit Press Release 123.

“Your employees have a deep understanding of your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, putting them in prime position to promote your company,” he adds.

Why Brand Ambassadors are Important

The reason why brand ambassadors are important is simple: you need people to represent and talk about your brand with your audience (2).

A brand ambassador is an individual who is a contextual fit with your brand, its image, and/or the products and services you sell. As the name suggests, an ambassador is someone who speaks for your brand, which is why you should have someone who is credible enough to gain your audience’s trust, thereby improving your brand’s visibility.

These days, the battle for influence happens on social media, which is where social media brand ambassadors come in. And this is where your employees can do a lot of damage—the good kind, of course.

 

How to Turn Employees into Brand Ambassadors

If you want to turn employees into brand ambassadors, you first need to understand why.

In some way or the other, your employees will have interacted with your customers, whether through direct interactions like sales and customer service, or indirect activities like product development and technical support.

All this interaction has led to customers looking to employees as a way to learn about a brand. In fact, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer Study found that the public considers employees as the most reliable source of information about a business (3).

So, the trick is to find ways to engage your employees so they genuinely support your brand, especially when they interact with customers. But beyond that, you also want them to embody the best qualities of your brand when interacting with the world at large.

How do you do this? Continue reading to learn more about building an employee ambassador program.

 

Employee Ambassador Program Step #1 – Have a Great Culture

The first step to creating an employee ambassador program is making sure your company culture actually supports healthy communication between employees, between management and employees, and employees and customers.

Your company culture sets the tone for how engaged your workers feel with their work. And the more engaged they are, the more likely they’ll take on a positive attitude when talking about your business.

So the question is, how do you foster a great company culture? Oftentimes, it’s just nurturing an environment where your company’s core values and mission are about doing the right thing (4). This avoids the problem of employees feeling conflicted because their values don’t align with yours.

Employee Ambassador Program Step #2 – Communicate Your Brand Value and Image

If you want an effective ambassador program, your employees must have a solid understanding of your image and value proposition.

If you’re a Fortune 500 company, your employees should have a pretty good idea of what the company’s brand value and brand image are. So, no problem there.

But for small businesses, things can be trickier, largely because the business itself is still figuring out its identity. If this is the position you’re in, set aside time to develop a mission and vision statement, identify your unique selling proposition, and work on developing a brand identity.

When hiring new employees, be sure they spend time getting acquainted with your brand. For existing employees, train them to understand the kind of message you want them to send your customers.

 

Employee Ambassador Program Step #3 – Offer the Right Tools

A successful employee ambassador program is one where workers don’t see the task of communicating with customers and representing your brand as a chore. In fact, you want to make it as easy as possible, making sure you’re giving your people all the tools and resources they need to promote it.

Tools and resources can be as simple as:

  • Prepared branded hashtags selected by your marketing and communications team
  • Events where employees can interact with customers and industry people
  • Training sessions to learn about the company’s history and its desired future
  • Branded merchandise that will show their affiliation to your brand with the people they talk with

 

Employee Ambassador Program Step #4 – Make it About Your Employees Too

Although an employee ambassador program is about promoting your brand to your audience, don’t forget that it’s also about your employees and making them feel they’re a genuine and important part of your organization.

Remember, employee ambassadors want to promote your brand. And the only way to make them want to do this is by empowering them and showing you care about their personal brands, their goals and dreams, and their potential as career professionals.

Take your time to ask your employees important questions, such as:

  • What do you feel would make you more productive at work?
  • What do you love about working in this company?
  • What do you not like about working in this company?

The answers to these questions will help develop your brand as an employer, which in turn, encourages employees to form a stronger bond with you, one they can be proud to share with others.

 

Employee Ambassador Program Step #5 – Invest in Social Media Training

As mentioned earlier, the battleground for online influence happens on social media. If you want your employee ambassador program to general results, you need to ensure your employees actually know the following:

  • How to use social media
  • Social media etiquette
  • Dos and don’ts when interacting with customers
  • Guidelines on how to control social media presence

The solution to this is training. But more importantly, you also want to make sure your employees are comfortable with these policies. Finally, you want to make them feel that representing your brand on social media places a lot of responsibility on their shoulders—a responsibility you’re happy to give them because you trust them.

 

Closing Thoughts on How to Make Your Employees Brand Ambassadors

Although basic, these 5 steps should lay a solid foundation to help you figure out how to make your employees brand ambassadors, allowing you to leverage the latent ability of your employees to increase your visibility and establish your brand image. With time and consistency, your employees’ actions online and in the real world will help generate likes, shares, and comments. This will drive brand awareness, leads, and of course sales.

If you need advice on how to design and build your company’s employee ambassador program, talk to a PR and branding specialist who appreciates the importance of employee ambassadorship and takes the time to understand your organization and its workforce.

“Don’t sleep on your workers’ ability to be your most ardent advocates,” says Qamar Zaman. “If you treat your employees with love and respect, they’ll be happy to repay the favor.”

 

Sources

http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/employees-social-marketers-future/295074/

https://www.socialhp.com/blog/12-reasons-you-need-brand-ambassadors-now/

http://www.edelman.com/global-results/

http://insights.wired.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-build-a-nurturing-company-culture

3 Benefits of Social in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing and social media are made for each other. Learn how to integrate social media tricks in your content with this guide.

The best content won’t generate the marketing results you want if it isn’t shareable. This is why it’s important to make your content marketing more social says Qamar Zaman CEO of Submit Press Release 123. We stand for Keep it simple and Shareable Content.

While content is certainly king, you could say that social media is its queen. As cheesy as it sounds, this pretty much encapsulates the current landscape of digital marketing.

Content marketing is arguably the fastest growing niche in all of digital marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 7th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, 89 percent of B2B Marketers use content marketing. This in itself isn’t surprising, but what’s more telling is how “62% (are) reporting that their organizations are much more or somewhat more successful with their overall content marketing approach compared with one year ago.”

With more marketers getting better results, it’s safe to say other organizations will increase their investments in producing their own content. In fact, CMI’s annual report notes that of the 11 percent who are content nonusers, “52% say they plan to launch a content marketing effort within 12 months.”

But content, however, is just half of the equation, which is where social media comes in. Compared to general content marketing, social media is about promotion and outreach. It’s a separate platform, sure, but one that should go hand in hand with your content marketing efforts.

Below are 3 ways to do just that.

  • Make Sure Your Content Oozes Authority and Expertise

If there’s one thing most marketers will tell you about content marketing, it’s that it’s all about creating original and unique content. These days—everyone knows content should be original and unique.

It’s no longer enough for your content to meet these basic requirements. What you should focus on is making sure your content speaks volumes of your brand’s authority and expertise.

For example, content on legal blogs should contain insights your readers will only get from you. To do this, you can publish case studies with unique data and findings, which your followers will ultimately find valuable, not to mention shareable.

Rand Fishkin of Inbound.org (2) calls this “10x Content,” a concept fueled by “…the idea that there’s just so much in our streams and standing out is so hard, we can’t just say, “Hey, I want to be as good as the top 10 people in the search results for this particular keyword term or phrase.” We have to say, “How can I create something 10 times better than what any of these folks are currently doing?””

To put it simply, you need to create content that commands attention and respect from readers due to the sheer number of expert-level insights and actionable information it offers.

  • Use Images Optimized for Social Media Sites

Images are a great way to break up walls of text in your content assets—pretty much every marketer out there knows this. You could be using stock images to kill the monotony of a blog post or landing page content, adding visual elements where they’re needed most.

However, it’s not enough to put images in your content, not if you want to maximize your social media engagement. When posting on Facebook and Twitter, your site can be enabled to display “cards” showing the images within your content. So, it’s important to optimize images according to the dimensions of these cards, or whatever platform they’re posted on. This is especially important for sites like Pinterest and Instagram, which rely on images to capture user interest.

Note that images are just one part of the equation to using these social features. You can look up how to use social media meta tags, which are essentially lines of code that let Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform, pull the proper images from your content when it’s posted on the social network.

As Steve Shaw points out in a write-up for vWriter (3), “When you use the right image, descriptive text, and so on for a sponsored update on social, you can improve engagement (including click-throughs) by often 100s of percent.”

  • Incentivize Social Media Sharing

Reward strategies are about as traditional as any other marketing technique out there, and thankfully, they still work with content marketing and social media.

For starters, you can hold contests to encourage users to share your content on Facebook or retweet a post on Twitter. You can also offer exclusive access to a virtual product (think webinars, podcasts, e-books) in exchange for a social media conversion—a share, like, or follow perhaps?

You can even offer special discounted rates to encourage customers to leave genuine reviews on your Facebook business page. The possibilities depend on how creative you want to be.

Conclusion

If there’s one thing these pointers prove, it’s that content marketing and social media were practically made for each other. Content offers the foundation for generating awareness and leads, while social media serves as the platform for outreach and promotions.

Need help with your content marketing strategy? Make sure you talk to content marketing expert Qamar Zaman.

 

Sources

  1. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/2017_B2B_Research_FINAL.pdf
  2. https://moz.com/blog/how-to-create-10x-content-whiteboard-friday
  3. https://blog.vwriter.com/ultimate-guide-to-social-meta-tags-open-graph-and-twitter-cards/

Local SEO for Lawyers – Is Your Local Search Campaign In The Right Direction

Local SEO is crucial for any lawyer business looking to attract customers in a specific location. Here are 3 local SEO best practices to help you get started.

Although changes to Google’s search engine algorithms are behind the constant changes in search engine optimization, it hasn’t diminished the importance of local SEO.

In fact, you could say that local SEO has never been more important, what with local results occupying the topmost section of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

But it’s also true that local SEO has never been harder.

As per Mike Miller of Search Engine Land, “…it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Google has recently reduced the size of the local pack, so now only three businesses are shown in the SERPs (unless users click through to see expanded results).”

“And the bad news does not stop there. Ads are starting to creep into the local results, and we have the ever-looming threat of home service ads eating up standard AdWords text ads and local listings,” he adds.

Still, that doesn’t mean you should just give up on local search, especially if your business has never given it a whirl.

The good news is that Google offers a wealth of tools and resources to get started, so whether you’re a law firm serving local clients, a restaurant looking for more patrons, or some other kind of service provider that wants to reach out to your local community, getting started has never been easier.

In this guide, we go over 3 local SEO best practices to ensure you hit the ground running.

1. Add Your Business to Google My Business

Google My Business is perhaps the most basic tool you can start with to ensure your business shows up on local search queries. As Google points out in their official Google My Business guide (2), “Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.”

Google My Business is so easy to use it’d be a marketing crime to ignore it.

Start by searching for your business on Google, claiming your business on google.com/business. Follow the instructions to have your business verified by Google. If you’re in charge of marketing, make sure your business owner signs off on this, as only he/she can claim a Google My Business page.

You can then optimize your GMB listing by typing in your:

  • Business name (make sure it’s the same name on your website, social media channels, and official storefront)
  • Logo
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • High-res photos of your products and services
  • Payment methods accepted

Make sure every entry is complete.

It’s also worth mentioning that Bing has its own version of this business feature with Bing Places for Business, which is always worth checking if you want maximum local search exposure.

2. Take Advantage of as Many Business Listings as You Can

Google might be the local business directory on the Internet, but it’s by no means the only one you should pay attention to. You also have the following platforms to work on:

  • Yelp
  • Trip Advisor
  • Foursquare/Swarm
  • Merchant Circle
  • Citysearch

You should also aim to be listed on business associations like the Better Business Bureau, as well as associations relevant to your industry.

  • For law firms and attorneys, it could be the American Bar Association
  • For accountants and accounting firms, The American Institute of CPAs
  • For dentists and dental clinics, the American Dental Association

You might think that claiming these business directories is common sense, but you’d be surprised how many businesses, especially small businesses, fail to give them any attention.

3. Utilize Reviews

Between a business with reviews and one without any, whom would you trust?

It’s a no-brainer really. And fortunately, many businesses are finally catching up with the importance of online customer reviews.

According to the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2016 (3), “84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation,” “74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more,” and, “58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important.”

In terms of SEO, Google notes that (4), “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”

So, clearly, reviews are important. But it also comes at a price: review management.

The moment you open your business up to reviews is also when the process of proactively responding to and containing negative reviews begins. As such, you want your customer support and customer experience to be topnotch to ensure your potential customers have as little to complain about as possible.

Conclusion

With how Google is running its search business, local SEO is not going away anytime soon. As such, you’ll want to take advantage of as many methods to improve your business’ visibility to customers within a particularly area or location. There are no shortcuts or any tricks here—just making use of features just waiting to be tapped.

Does your law firm need assistance with your search engine optimization campaign? Make sure you work with local SEO specialists with marketing experience in the legal services industry.

Sources:

  1. http://searchengineland.com/local-seo-ranking-2016-beyond-251404
  2. https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en
  3. https://www.brightlocal.com/learn/local-consumer-review-survey/
  4. https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091?hl=en

 

Contributor Qamar Zaman
CEO of KISSPR.com a Dallas based digital marketing and local SEO expert specializing in SEO For Google My Business & Local SEO For Law Firms

How to Optimize for Voice Searches – New SEO Techniques for Small Business In the Making

While voice search is not a completely new feature offered by smartphones and devices, it is one that is gaining in popularity quite rapidly. If you own a business, you need to begin preparing now to ensure your site shows up in voice search results.

Right now, voice search is fun. It is a feature to use from time to time to see what type of results will “pop up.” However, with 40% of adults and 50% of teens actively using voice search for finding information, it’s obvious this isn’t a fad or trend that is going to pass anytime soon.

In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, there will be more than 200 billion search queries made each day through voice search features.

With these rather impressive numbers in mind, there is no question that now is the time to begin thinking about how you can optimize your site for voice search.

Optimizing for Voice Search and Siri

The age of the “digital assistant” is upon you – Google Now, Cortana, Siri – these are all voice search platforms that are changing the way you search for information and content. Need proof? Consider this – in 2015 searches on virtual assistants jumped from zero to accounting for more than 10 percent of the searches made around the globe. If this type of search pattern continues, it is only a matter of time before voice search surpasses traditional keyboard searches.

If you think about it, you likely use voice search much more today, than you did in the past. It is easier, faster, and much more fun than having to manually type in a search term. In fact, 56% of adults have even made the statement that they use it because it makes them feel more tech-savvy.

However, for website owners, the question is – what does it mean from an SEO standpoint? Also, how can you make sure your continent is fully optimized for voice search?

Voice search is somewhat complex. Each search engine is unique in how it handles these searches and you need to make sure your website is “findable” in all scenarios. For example, Siri utilizes Bing for searches, and Google Now obviously uses Google.

To satisfy the needs of both Google and Bing voice search results, it’s a good idea to use the following methods.

Know the Search Engine Your Optimizing For

Even though Google dominates the mobile and desktop search world, there is a real chance that Bing may take over in regard to voice search. When iOS 7 first arrived on the market, Siri started using Bing as the default search engine. This means that all iPad and iPhone users have to specifically ask to use Google for their searches – or they are going to revert back to Bing.

While this may make you think that Bing is the obvious winner for voice search, the data speaks for itself.

According to findings from the IDC, Androids have a worldwide market share of 83.7% while iOS only holds about 15.3%. As a result, Bing may not acquire as much of the voice search market as many believe it will.

Focus on Long Tail Keywords

An effective way to excel in voice search results is by using long-tail keywords. Human thinking is more fluent when a person is talking or having a conversation. When you type, you unconsciously think and then write mechanically. This is because you are aware you aren’t speaking to a human. This results in a change in your thinking pattern and writing style.

However, when you are speaking, you typically make complete thoughts or even sentences. As a result, you need to write this way when creating content to be found by search engines. This is going to give you a much better chance of being found over your competition.

For example, on a computer, you may type something like “cheap jeans San Diego” when searching for affordable jeans. However, when you are using voice search, you are much more likely to create a statement – such as, “where can I find the cheapest jeans in San Diego?” As a result, those are the types of phrases, terms, and long-tail keywords you need to focus on using if you want to show up first in voice search engine results.

Voice Search is Transforming How You Find Things

There is no question that the idea of voice search is a bit confusing at first. However, it is not something that can be ignored. If you want to know what you need to do to ensure your website is voice search ready, contact Qamar Zaman, an internet marketing and SEO specialist in Dallas. Qamar understands how SEO changes and can help you get ready. He is a marketing and SEO expert, attorney marketing expert with more than two decades of web marketing experience.

SEO Expert Qamar Zaman Explains – 4 Ways Old SEO and New SEO Are Different

Lawyer SEO Expert Qamar Zaman Says, lawyers needs to make sure that they are keeping up with search engines and observing best practices when creating and executing a strategy.

After Panda and Penguin—Google’s sweeping search engine algorithm updates—the landscape of search engine optimization has never been the same since.

To cut the long story short, what used to work wonders back in the old days just doesn’t anymore.

But the good news is that, at its core, the goals and basic tenets of SEO haven’t changed. Sure, some tactics and best practices may be different, but SEO is still about connecting your brand with your target audience by increasing your search rankings.

Perhaps the best way to describe new school SEO is that it’s about optimizing for real people instead of search engines. But then again, this school of thought has already existed even in the old days of SEO.

For law firms, knowing the best practices for modern SEO is now more important than ever, as more and more providers of legal services jockey for online visibility.

So, how do you know which practices to avoid, and which ones you should be spending more time and resources on? Here are a few key differences between old and new SEO, which should tell you everything about the kind approach to take when marketing your law firm.

     1. Today’s SEO is About Engaging Customers, Not Just Rankings

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Source

In the past, the thrust behind SEO was to focus on a few keywords and trying to rank for them on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Some search marketers believed that it didn’t matter how you did it, as long as you managed to grab and keep top rankings on Google.

However, Google’s Penguin and Panda updates saw to it that marketers could no longer game the system with link farming and keyword spamming.

Today, SEO is about managing your brand’s reputation, and making people want to interact with your brand by spreading quality content about your products and services.

For law firms, this means creating content that attracts your target audience and nurturing them until they become your actual clients. If you have this down pat, your rankings should improve through organic sharing/mentions, and natural linking across the Internet.

To put it simply, SEO is now rooted in traditional marketing and public relations, in that you’re trying to build your law firm’s authority through reputation management and savvy PR.

     2. Keywords are Still Important, But They’re Not the Only Thing Going On

seo-expert-qamar-zaman-explains-4-ways-old-seo-and-new-seo-are-different-2

Source

Anyone who’s been engaged in SEO before 2011 knows that for many years, the industry was always focused on one thing: keywords.

In the past, search marketers would focus on just one major keyword, hinging all their efforts on getting ranked for that specific search term, and only that term.

But as search engines continue to get smarter, the goal is now to think of what search engine users think and want when typing into the search engine. This has given rise to semantic SEO, which focuses on keyword intent and long tail keywords.

For law firms, this means the days of gaming Google with keywords are over, with the context behind searches now being taken into account when showing search results. In turn, this means your content has to be topnotch and relevant in order to generate traffic and improve your site’s rankings.

Relevance will be the primary factor affecting how effective your website content is. This will be both a challenge and opportunity for providers of legal services, possibly requiring them to change their website content and marketing campaigns.  But it can also place you in a prime position to beat your competitors in the SERPs.

Read more on semantic search here http://news.oneseocompany.com/index.php?s=semantic+

     3. Content for People, Not Search Engines

Although the concept behind using content to increase search engine rankings was to create content for readers, search marketers nevertheless deviated from its intended purpose.

In the old days, SEO was focused on creating content that would rank on the search engine results pages. This meant that keywords and keyword density took precedence before the actual quality of the content. And so, you had marketers flooding private blog networks with poor-quality and sometimes even plagiarized content stuffed with target keywords.

But Google’s Panda update pretty much put that practice to an end, forcing marketers to realize that content needs to be written for people, as it was always intended.

Law firms thus need to focus on creating content assets that are not only relevant, but also educate and solve their target audience’s problems.

Read my blog post content for people not for bots

     4. Link Building Should Be Natural and Earned

seo-expert-qamar-zaman-explains-4-ways-old-seo-and-new-seo-are-different-3

Source

To be fair, everyone knew what the best practices for link building were, even in the old days of SEO. Search marketers were already aware of black hat link building and that it was pretty much a way to trick search engines into increasing their rankings.

That didn’t stop many people from building links the shady way though. It was all about jamming as many links into content assets whenever possible, and posting them on as many websites as they could. It was pretty much open season for search marketers, which made postings on discussion forms and social bookmarking sites so popular.

But such questionable practices never had a chance of lasting, and so after Panda and Penguin, the only way to build links without suffering penalties is to do it the right way, as everyone should. In other words, links have to be natural and earned.

A link should be the result of forming a relationship between your law firm’s site and a relevant and authoritative party. Of course, there’s no rule prohibiting you from posting on forums and social bookmarking sites like Pinterest or Tumblr, but you should still be very selective on the sites you choose to avoid any penalties.

What Does All This Mean for Law Firms?

As with any other company, your law firm needs to make sure you are keeping up with search engines and observing best practices when creating and executing a strategy. Most of these changes aren’t actual changes in best practices per se, because they’ve actually been recommended since the early days of SEO—so it shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment if you’ve always put your audience first in your SEO efforts.

Still, it’s important to be fluid with your SEO methods and be ready to adapt to trends and changes when they benefit your marketing efforts.

Qamar Zaman is a renowned national SEO expert for lawyers. With his office based in Dallas, Qamar Zaman specializes in conversion rate optimization for law firms. He works with all types of law firms and helps them get improve ROI without increasing more on marketing cost.  

Follow Qamar on Huffington Post

Source: http://news.oneseocompany.com/2016/12/12/seo-expert-qamar-zaman-explains-4-ways-old-seo-and-new-seo-are-different_201612121519.html

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Endear Themselves to the Community

Customers are more likely to frequent a locally minded business than one solely focused on profits.

Running a small business can be tough, and without support in your local area it can be even harder. It is imperative to find ways to make your company stand out from the crowd and attract the attention of clients and customers through a range of avenues. In the past, advertising was the best way forward for trying to bring in increased revenue. Today, it takes something more to draw in the crowds.

More small business owners are starting to realize that the best way to thrive is to take steps to endear themselves to their community and show that they have a genuine interest in local issues and the health of the local economy. So, as a small business owner, how can you go about achieving this goal while still maintaining the economic health of your company? Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Employing locals

While it is essential to employ the people with the best skills to get your company off the ground, drawing talent from the local workforce plays a key role in forging links with the community. There are numerous advantages to hiring locals. For a start, you will be choosing people with a stronger sense of loyalty to the area and a sound knowledge of the local consumer environment. You will also signal your clients that you are investing in the growth of your town, its citizens’ well-being and the local economic health.

2. Holding events

Building up a healthy relationship with your local customers is an essential part of helping your business grow. What better way to do that than by offering them an experience they will not only enjoy, but also remember? Hosting a party or social event helps endear small businesses to the community and also serves as a medium to spread the word about your business. People are much more likely to choose your product or service if they have become familiar with your company through a pleasurable experience.

3. Volunteering for a good cause

Maximize your company’s profile in its local area by getting your workforce to volunteer to help a local charity or good cause. This could be anything from participating in a litter pick-up on a nearby beach to joining a fun run. The benefit for your business here is easy to see. You are getting plenty of free publicity and boosting the profile of your company, while endearing yourself to the community as a locally minded firm that genuinely cares about the community’s progress.

You can find out more about volunteering opportunities in your local area through VolunteerMatch. If your company has specialist services and skills, you could offer these for free to local charities to show your community mindedness. Not only will you raise awareness of your company’s work, but forge a wider network of potential future clients.

4. Sponsorships

Most communities value the educational well-being of their young people, so one way to strengthen the bond between your business and the local population is to invest in the future of local citizens. Offering scholarships to local students who show promise in your industry’s field will show that you have a firm belief in local talent and are happy to help your community be the best that it can be.

“Helping local families with financial aid will stand you in good stead and make your business stand out from the crowd,” says Qamar Zaman, CEO of Dallas-based Submit Press Release 123. Zaman’s company offers two scholarships to potential digital marketing or journalism students.

5. Charitable donations

One of the most distinct ways small businesses can contribute to the community is through donations to a local cause or charity. Assisting in local projects or supporting a cause that helps the community will significantly improve your company’s image. It could also earn you exposure to an array of influential figures who could help grow your business.

Running a business is difficult enough without having to think about endearing yourself to the community. However, you will certainly do yourself a favor if you  invest locally. The goodwill that you generate through a philanthropic and community-minded deed will deepen the regard the community has for your company.

The resulting publicity boost will then boost your company’s image and raise awareness of your business. In a competitive marketplace, a customer is more likely to choose a company he or she has heard positive things about than one that focuses solely on its own profits.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/284377

Photo: Clive Chilvers | Shutterstock.com

5 Hot SEO Trends that Will Make Waves in 2017

Yes, it is once again that time of the year when everyone tries to predict the landscape of digital marketing in the near future. With the fourth quarter of 2016 almost coming to an end, digital marketers are looking forward to what the next year has in store.

This is especially true for search engine optimization (SEO), an aspect of digital marketing that’s all about being one or two steps ahead of the competition. Much of this has to do with how fast search engines evolve, forcing marketers to adjust their SEO strategy—just ask anyone affected by Google’s Penguin and Panda updates.

In other words, the SEO industry is always in a state of flux. So it helps to be on your toes and keep an eye out for trends and potential changes to best SEO practices.

In this guide, I go over a few of these changes to help you do just that. Based on what we are seeing so far, 2017 is shaping up to be an interesting year for search engine optimization, at least as far as trends go.

1. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Will Make a Splash in 2017

 

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Google has long hinted that mobile friendliness would be used as a key ranking signal on the search engine results pages. And true enough, the company announced in 2015 that, “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” a change that would affect “mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

And it’s not exactly a surprise why. That same year Google announced that the number of Google searches on mobile had exceeded desktops. In response to this major shift, the company initiated the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, an open-source protocol that allows publishers to create faster and leaner versions of their web pages that load instantly on mobile pages.

The gist behind the entire project is that it allows webmasters to make simple HTML tweaks to their pages in order to make them load up to 85 percent faster and consume up to 8 times less mobile data.

But for SEOs, perhaps the biggest reason AMP is important is how Google is starting to prioritize AMP content. AMP might not be an explicit ranking signal, but as Matt Southern of Search Engine Land points out, this matters little, not when Google gives AMP pages prime real estate on mobile search results.

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I expect that AMP adoption will continue to grow in 2017, so expect to see AMP-optimized content occupying the top spot of your mobile search results—watch out for the lightning icon and the AMP label.

2. Optimizing for User Intent

 

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Although keywords are still an important part of SEO, search engines have gotten much better at recognizing user intent. Already, we’re seeing many marketers make the transition to directly answering searches instead of just using traditional onsite optimization.

Content will be your primary tool to address user intent. It’s no longer enough to have an optimized title, relevant meta tags, and a few keywords sprinkled within the content body. The content asset itself needs to deliver the information your users need.

In other words, your content needs to live up to any promises you make on your meta tags and title to be of any real value to your audience.

3. Juicy Content That Offers More Value

 

In the old days, the SEO school of thought when writing content was to keep assets as bite-sized as possible in order to ensure maximum readability. After all, attention spans on the Internet were notoriously short (they still are), so it was thought that brief and concise content was most effective.

This makes a lot of sense right? However, in the past few years we’ve seen longer and denser content assets generate higher levels of engagement.

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SEO guru Neil Patel is one of the strongest advocates of long-form evergreen content, which he describes as blog posts that are at least 2000 words long or more. And he makes a strong case by citing compelling stats from his own content assets.

Of course, just stuffing a 2000-word article with nothing but fluff won’t do any good. Long-form content works if and only if, it has anything valuable to offer. So it’s not exactly a question of length, but rather value. Whether it’s 500 words, 1000 words, or 4000 words and more, content with valuable information will always perform well.

4. Strides to Be Made in Voice Search

 

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While voice search has yet to reach full maturity, it’s only a matter of time until it changes the way we search for information on the Internet.

Progress will be connected to growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena, where it’s expected that voice control will shape the way we interact with Internet-controlled devices such as cars, thermostats, lighting systems, and security systems among others.

When voice control reaches a point where it becomes seemingly human, it’s inevitable that voice search will also reach a similar level of functionality. Your personal assistant won’t just be on your phone, it will follow you on your television, your car, and the office.

Of course, this kind of sci-fi future won’t exactly happen in 2017, but it helps to pay attention to the direction voice search is taking. You can also start experimenting as early as now, using the Google App and Siri to run brand searches to see what results are generated.

If you run a voice search for “dentists in X city” and see Google Business Listings, it won’t hurt to focus your efforts on Google My Business.

5. Influencer Marketing

 

Social proof will be as strong as ever in 2017, which means that influencer marketing will still play a critical role in your SEO efforts. As opinion leaders continue to attract and keep an engaged audience, brands will likewise continue to see them as a cost-effective avenue for reaching out to their respective audiences.

Linking your campaign to an influencer means your brand is suddenly visible to a larger audience, creating a spike of traffic that, if used correctly, should create leads and conversions. Connecting with an influencer who has a high domain authority site is also a classic link building strategy; except now you’re not just creating links for search engines, but also for actual people to see.

In other words, influencer marketing lets you optimize your SEO campaign for real people.

Conclusion

Ultimately, what Google plans to do with search in 2017 is anyone’s guess, but these trends are something we’re already seeing now. In fact, some of their earlier signs have been around since 2014.

What this means is that there is no pressing need overhaul your SEO strategy or anything like that. If you’ve been observing best practices in SEO, you can rest assured knowing that your efforts will continue to bear fruit next year.

Still, it helps to study how these trends will develop and affect your campaigns in the near future. The more aware you are, the easier it will be to stay ahead of the competition.

If you need help with SEO for your business, speak with our Dallas based Internet Marketing Experts at KISSPR.com

Conversion Rate Optimization Basics Part 1: Important Key Terms to Familiarize

We’ve already written about Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) before, but now let’s get back to basics and delve in more details to let those who are not familiar with it grasp its fundamental elements.  This is the first part of the Conversion Rate Optimization series that we will publish here on our blog site.

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Before we’ll proceed with the key terms, let us first define Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and how it differs from SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Conversion Rate Optimization is simply the process that involves tactics to improve a website’s performance so that visitors can be successfully converted.

For example, you are offering a deodorant product that can help people minimize sweating. On your homepage you put in there “Feel fresh without sweat marks.” But, you noticed that the conversion rate is very poor.  So, you tested another way of saying it this way “Put an end to sweat marks!” And, it works.  93% more people click the “add to cart button”.  This is an example of transforming a passive copy into an action oriented one wherein the latter yielded in more successful conversions.

The above process uses A/B Split Testing, a Conversion Rate Optimization tactic that let website owners test two pages and then select the more effective one.  We’ll discuss more about this later.

SEO, on the other hand, is the general term for the processes that aim to increase visibility of websites in the SERPs (search engine result pages). SEO and CRO complement each other.  I hope this clears the difference between the two.

How popular is Conversion Rate Optimization?

According to Marketing Sherpa, 7 in 10 marketers practicing CRO use results of experiments to inform offline or other marketing initiatives.  And, 74% of Conversion Rate Optimization programs boost sales.  Here are the rest of statistics that show the widespread practice of CRO.  We got this list compiled by SwayHub in Slideshare.

  • 61% of companies run 5 or fewer landing page tests per month. – Econsultancy/Marketing Sherpa
  • Companies with a structured approach to improving conversions were twice as likely to see a large increase in sale. – Econsultancy
  • 85% of search marketers who plan to focus more on conversion optimization in 2015. – Hanapin Marketing, 2014
  • 39% of client-side marketers named conversion optimization a top digital marketing priority. – Econsultancy/Adobe, 2013
  • 57% of B2B marketers say conversion rate is the most useful metric for analyzing landing page performance. – Ascend2, 2013
  • Companies with over 40 landing pages generate an average of 12 times more leads than those with 5 or fewer pages. – Hubspot, 2011

All these facts and figures show how valuable Conversion Rate Optimization is in achieving not only successful conversions but also your business’ ROI (return of investment) goals.

9 Conversion Rate Optimization Key Terms You Should Familiarize

In order to fully understand Conversion Rate Optimization going forward, you need first to familiarize the key terms that are often used by its practitioners.  Below is the list of the most commonly used ones.

1. A/B Testing

As mentioned in the earlier part of this blog post, A/B Testing or Split Testing is a tactic that can help you improve click-throughs and increase successful conversions for your website.  Having 2 or more pages that varies for example the color of the buy button and test them if people are more compelled to click the red over the white one, is an example of Split Testing.

2. Bounce Rate

This measures the percentage of traffic (visitors) who left your website after checking your page.  The higher your site’s bounce rate, the more possibility that there’s something wrong with it, thus lower conversion rate is highly expected.  You need to find out why your visitors hastily abandon your web page.

3. Call to Action

This is simply a button or text or a link that asks a visitor to do something.  Most common examples of call to action are “Buy Now”, “Click here to purchase”, “Download our eBook”, and the like.  CTAs play a crucial role in improving click-throughs and conversions.

4. Click-through Rate

This is the percentage of your website visitors that click from one of your page to another.  If the CTR from your blog to your landing page (money page) is high, then this means that you are doing the right thing because your visitors are compelled to check it.

5. Conversion Funnel

This is the flow of steps that a potential customer goes through before completely buying your product or subscribing to your service.  For example, if you are buying in an online store, you’ll go through the homepage first, then the search result page, the product page, and finally, the checkout page.

6.  Multivariate Testing

This differs a bit from A/B Testing because it tests multiple variation of different page elements in a number of combinations to find out which one performs the best.  This can be seen in a situation wherein a conversion rate optimizer tries to rearrange a landing page’s elements (such as its CTA button, copy, photos, and the like) multiple times to determine which combination yielded the best response from website visitors.

7. Landing page

This is a special page wherein target customers are redirected and presented with compelling copy to convince them to purchase a product or subscribe to a service.  This is one of the most important pages of your website because it is where customers decide if your business is the right fit for them.

8. Personalization

This is the process of targeting your customers to make your copy or ads more compelling to them.  For example, using an email software so that you can specifically put their name on the greetings portion of your newsletter.  Or, customizing the copy you will display depending on the location of your target audience.

9. Eyetracking

Another form of website testing that let you know which part of your website property is the most important to your target audience.  This is an eye tracking test that measures how your experiment’s participants interact with the pages of your website.  This is quite helpful if you want to determine which part of your website need more focus for improvements.

Familiarizing these key terms can help you gain better perspective about Conversion Rate Optimization.  If you feel the information presented here is not enough, you can always search online to complement your reading.  Kindly keep on coming back to this blog for the continuation of this series.

 

Sources and References:

https://qualaroo.com/beginners-guide-to-cro/

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/100-conversion-optimization-case-studies/

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/website-optimization-terms-glossary-ht

http://blog.crazyegg.com/2015/01/23/conversion-optimization-stats-2015/

https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/

http://www.slideshare.net/SwayHub/30-conversion-rate-optimization-stats-you-should-know

The Rise Of RankBrain: What Does It Mean?

Search engine optimization has changed a lot since it first became a thing. The days of just making sure you had the words you wanted to rank well for scattered across your pages are so far gone that they’re practically forgotten.

SEO in the modern world is ever changing. The methods used to achieve good ranks have become more technical and varied. What works for some doesn’t seem to work for others, and what worked last month might not work tomorrow. The algorithms employed by search engines to determine result ranks have become both complex and virtually top secret.

Google is, by far, the most popular search engine, and the one most website owners are worried about ranking well on. Although the inner workings of their ranking system is a very well kept secret, the company has been open about general factors that go into the process of deciding who comes out on top. With their latest system updates, they made an announcement that the three biggest factors that make up search result rankings are:

  • Content – Real and genuine content on the pages
  • Links – Incoming links from other sites that validate the content’s value
  • RankBrain – ??????

What Is RankBrain?

Rankbrain is the name Google has given to a machine learning system that is being used to help process the search results that come up when someone runs a web search on the popular search engine. It’s important to note that RankBrain is part of what goes into generating results, it is not the sole determiner, or the name for the algorithm itself.

What is RankBrain?

According to information that has been released so far, the RankBrain system is used in about 15% of all searches run through Google. The system is able to learn on its own and continually improve the search results it returns, supposedly becoming more accurate with more use.

What Does RankBrain Do?

Nobody outside of Google knows exactly what RankBrain does, but they have given some fairly general clues about its effects, as they’ve been known to do in the past.

The RankBrain system seems to have been developed mainly to help the overall search algorithm react in smarter ways by bringing a sort of understanding of the context of search queries. To clarify that a bit, there are many words and phrases that show up in search queries that can have different meanings depending on how they are being used. It’s usually easy for a human to understand the difference, but making a computer program able to tell the difference can be tricky work.

Apples or Oranges?
To illustrate, take the word “apple” as an example. If someone asks you about the “Apple iPad”, you know they are talking about a tablet computer. Other words come to your mind such as tablet, computer, apps, games, etc. If someone asks you about “apple pie” you know they are talking about food, and you might think of things like cake, baking, fruits, etc.

Apples or Oranges

 

In your mind, we could even say it’s like apples and oranges. Those are two completely different things. But to a computer, it’s not so easy to understand that difference. To a computer, apple is apple, period. Making the computer understand that one apple is a computer and the other apple is a fruit can be amazingly difficult. Let’s not even get into orange as a fruit versus orange as a color.

Analyzing Relationships

People are also easily able to form relations and associations between words and phrases, something that is difficult to replicate with computer code. For example, if I say the word “sneakers” to you, you will easily be able to come up with all kinds of other words and phrases. You might think, running shoes, tennis shoes, athletic, sports, or even brand names like Nike or Adidas. If you were looking through a catalog to find sneakers, you might stop on any of those words, because you know they are relevant to what you’re looking for. If you tell a computer to look for “sneakers” it’s going to look for sneakers and just whiz right past all those other words.

Up until now Google has had to rely on human intervention to build these relations and interpret subtle differences in meanings says Google Marketing Expert Qamar Zaman. Real people need to sit and review searches and tell the computer how results could be improved for the next time. That approach might seem to work well, until you consider the fact that Google handles more than 3 billion searches every day. On top of that, they’ve said that about 15% of daily searches are actually search queries they’ve never seen before. That might seem small, but it comes out to about 450 million never-before-seen search queries in a single day. Obviously, trying to keep up with that kind of volume and tune things “manually” is going to be a losing battle.

Analyzing Relationships

Rise Of The Machine

So this is where RankBrain comes in. The idea is that this system will be able to learn from previous search queries and make adjustments to results faster and more accurately. Overall, it shouldn’t really affect any page’s rank for any relevant terms. It seems to be working more on making sure search terms are understood correctly, rather than directly deciding what position a particular result should be given in relation to others.

Rise Of The Machine

Going back to our “apple” example, it’s not going to matter much to a computer reseller if they aren’t showing up on the results when someone is searching for pie recipes. The person running that search wasn’t going to by a computer anyway, even if he did use the word apple. This is the type of effect that RankBrain should have on results. Hopefully this new addition to the results algorithm will prove to be a benefit to both end users and site owners.

At the very least, it will be interesting to see how results change over time as RankBrain learns more about search — and we learn more about RankBrain.

How Healthy Is Your Business?

Diet…For some, it is the single most spine tingling, goose-bump triggering word! With all the information that is available on the web and the endless availability of opinions, just where does one begin to unwrap the best diet plan for their busy lifestyle?

The task of sifting through proven results vs. the next gimmick in weight loss can become overwhelming. Sadly, unless you have a degree in nutrition hanging on your wall, the uneducated individual becomes fearful and wonders “Just who do you trust?”

Identically, a business can fall prey to these same types of fears. Equal concerns overwhelm the plan of attack for any given owner.

However, a “Get back to the basics” point of view can make all the difference. Our world has complicated some of the fundamental practices that need to be revisited in order to transform our diets and our business.

Keep it simple:

Real foods are the first and most important place to start! Our hectic lifestyles have given way to a processed diet full of non-nutritional foods that will harmfully fuel our bodies. We as individuals are becoming increasingly obese and unhealthy due to these practices. A healthy amount of fruits and vegetables would be the first place to start.

Your business is no different. The best diet for any company would be the decision to “nourish” it choosing practices that will sustain in the long run. The black hat practice that most digital marketing companies use to rank you at the top of Google will not grow you in a healthy way. Identical to a diet full of “fake food” your company will be fueled for a moment but will ultimately be found at rock bottom when these underhanded practices are brought to light.

Educate and Move:

Education is empowerment. And once educated…You need to MOVE!

Diet is about education and the tools to best implement your findings. Unfortunately, everyone thinks they are a trusted source in what an individual should consume in their daily diet, but that is just not the case. The best chance for a successful outcome is to employ a dietitian or a nutritionist with a proven track record, one who will walk hand in hand while educating, encouraging, and guiding you to your fullest potential!

Similarly, your business would benefit from a wealth of education. However, around every corner, there is another Digital Marketing company with their version of what it takes to grow a business. A future with continued success rests on the shoulders of a Digital Marketing company with proof of satisfied and long standing customers. A company whose top priority is to ensure that white hat tactics are pursued and continued successes are achieved through constant and innovative growth.

The best road is the narrow road

Most of our society today has accepted a lifestyle of fast and easy, and in adopting that mindset we have simultaneously set ourselves up for failure. The phrase “If it was easy everyone would be doing it” goes a long way. The road to a healthy lifestyle and diet has the potential to find temptations around every corner, and once you choose to succumb to the pressures of life and invite un-nourishing fuel into your body you will find you are left frustrated and defeated. And in turn, will be forced back to square one.

Parallel thinking can be adapted for your company as well. Once you fully understand that “fast and easy” can only be accomplished with proper business nutrition. The moment you succumb to the temptation of a quick fix promised by a run of the mill Digital Marketing company, you will find you are left with the identical feelings of a less than stellar diet. The key is growth in the correct way for long-term success.

At KissPR, we are committed to the overall nourishment of your business. We are a one-stop Digital Marketing company whose heartbeat is to see you succeed. Our company educates, empowers and enlightens you as your company grows. We are not interested in a “quick fix” that is not sustainable.We are continually motivated to seek innovative ways to tell the world about your unique company.

If you are ready to take the step and team up with an all-encompassing Digital Marketing company give KissPR a call…We will learn you, grow you, and cheer you on to your greatest success yet.

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